Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray

I give credit to the Book Nook in Hove for turning me on to Apple Pie ABC and the ever so lovely creations of Alison Murray. Murray has adapted a traditional ABC verse for the story and the result is a modern picture book with a vintage feel. She uses a natural color palette and a clever narrative to make this title stand out from the crowd of more obvious alphabet books available.

A young girl and her canine sidekick are baking an apple pie.  An apple pie so tempting and tantalizing that the pup risks some serious scolding as he sniffs, tastes and finally gobbles the whole thing. We follow him through each menacing moment until, exhausted, he collapses in his bed providing the necessary 'zzzs' to conclude the story.

Part of the real success of this book is the integration of the alphabet lesson and the story.  Each letter of the alphabet drives the story forward without overpowering it.  Some letters are linked to just one word, such as 'M' for 'miserable' when the pup is scolded, and other letters are linked to complete phrases such as 'F' for 'find a crumb of it.' By varying the patten the story has a rhythm of its own and stands up well alongside the alphabet lesson.

There is plenty of space within the pages to pause and talk to your reader about what's happening in the pictures.  It's also very successful in its pacing.  First time around I wondered if E would actually sit through the whole alphabet.  Thanks to Alison Murray the answer was a resounding yes.

Apple Pie ABC is published by Orchard Books in the UK.  Alison Murray has a fantastic website for this book http://www.applepieabc.com/ and another great website for her other creations http://alisonmurray.net/.

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